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Sexual Assault Support Services

Responsible government

  • Victoria

Fourth Action Plan actions

  • Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
    • 14 Deliver client-centred, trauma-informed, specialised and consistent support to victims and survivors of sexual violence.

What are we doing?

The Victorian Government funds 19 services state-wide, including 14 Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASAs), to provide support services to children, young people and adults who have experienced sexual assault. Sexual Assault Support Services are confidential and are provided to victim/survivors of recent and past sexual assaults regardless of gender.

Services provided by the sector include immediate crisis support including crisis intervention, provision of information, counselling, advocacy and coordination of support with child protection, police, forensic and other medical personnel, as well as an after-hours telephone service providing counselling, information and coordination of crisis care support. Services also include follow-up, longer-term counselling, advocacy and support as well as information regarding options and rights within the legal system, medical options, including follow-up medical treatment, assistance with managing sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy arising from the assault. Services also provide support and information to non-offending family members and support people.

In addition to the above activities, sexual assault support services also provide community education, training and specialist consultation services to relevant individuals and services to facilitate meeting the broader needs and concerns of victim/survivors of sexual assault.

The 2019–20 Victorian budget allocated $7.94 million over four years for the design and implementation of an Aboriginal Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) model, to build on the 2017–18 Victorian budget investment of $750,000 per annum over two years.

What have we achieved so far?

  • Support for Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) – a state-wide, after-hours, confidential telephone counselling service, which also coordinates a crisis care response
  • Provision of state-wide support for victim/survivors of current and historical sexual assault
  • Establishment of Aboriginal Sexual Assault Support Service Working Group (the Working Group), in October 2018, to guide the design process and to inform options for the 2017–18 investment to support the Aboriginal SASS model. The Working Group’s proposed approach was to progress with a community co-design process and a learning and development project to develop a training package and set of state-wide practice tools to support the Aboriginal workforce
  • Contracting of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), an Aboriginal Registered Organisation, to develop a learning and development strategy, designed to increase the capacity of the Aboriginal workforce.

What is next?

  • Sexual assault support services are an ongoing program.
  • Continuation of the design, development and delivery of a set of practice tools and sustainable specialist training package for the Aboriginal workforce by VACCHO
  • A state-wide forum to progress the workforce development piece and elements of the new design approach which are endorsed by Koorie Caucus and the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum
  • Expression of Interest to trial, design and test a model of service delivery based on Nargneit Birrang, the Aboriginal Holistic Health Framework.

What difference will we make?

This initiative will contribute to the National Outcomes that Indigenous communities are strengthened and that services meet the needs of women and their children experiencing violence.

The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework was published in Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change, which outlined Victoria’s priorities in preventing and responding to family violence, why they matter, and what constitutes success. The Victorian Family Violence Outcomes Framework is a whole of Government framework and is intended to ensure Victorian family violence reform efforts are focused on the actions that make a difference. The Victorian Government is progressing development of the framework, including through indicators and measures. In time, measurement and monitoring of Victorian family violence outcomes may also support reporting for the National Plan.

Victoria will monitor this initiative by reporting on the number of new targets (for sexual assault support services) and percentage of SASS clients receiving a response within five working days.

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